Christmas in Australia doesn’t obey any of the rules. We grow up watching American and English classic Christmas films filled with snow, open fires, and magic enhanced by a chilly winter eve. Dinner tables are filled with plump roasted birds, hot plum puddings and mugs filled with egg nog. This is what we learn that Christmas should look like.
Our reality is 30+C days, the background hum of air conditioners and a light quality that looks like you have applied the Valencia Instagram filter to the world. Some of us still do the plump roasted birds but there is usually a sweating matriarch behind it swearing that ‘next year I’m doing cold cuts’.
The one thing we do have in the Southern Hemisphere is stone fruit for Christmas. While the platters my mum always insisted on, filled with peaches and nectarines didn’t really excite me; the glistening cherries were always a special treat. For us in the Southern Hemisphere, without snow and cinnamon spiced warmth, cherries are about as romantic as we get.
But they are pretty romantic, so that’s OK.
Cherry Cheesemas Chocolate Mud Cake
I’d like to thank my Instagram helpers for the naming inspiration 😉
This cake is the perfect mix of christmas treat for me – rich chocolate mud cake surrounding a cherry cheesecake. Cake within cake and cherries within that cake. Topped simply with a mound of fresh cherries keeps it fresh and makes for an impressive end to Christmas dinner.
To make things even sweeter, it is vegetarian friendly (no gelatine used in the cheesecake layer) and conquers all your creamy/fruity/chocolatey needs in one go. We all have those needs right?
What symbolises Christmas for you?
- 1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
- 1/2 cup plain flour
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1 cup castor sugar
- 250g unsalted butter
- 200g dark chocolate
- 1 Tbsp oil
- 1 cup strong coffee (see notes)
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 250g cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup condensed milk
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 100g white chocolate melts
- 1/2 cup cream
- 100g fresh cherries
- 300g fresh cherries for serving
- Preheat oven to 160C
- Grease and line a 20cm cake tin with baking paper
- Sift flours and cocoa into a large bowl and stir in sugar. Make a well in the centre
- In a medium saucepan over low heat place butter, chocolate, coffee and oil and stir until butter and chocolate have melted.
- Add chocolate mixture to flour mixture and stir until just combined.
- Add eggs to mixture and stir until just combine.
- Pour mixture into prepared tin and bake for 80-90 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
- Allow to cool for 10 minutes in tin before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Grease and line a 20cm springform tin with baking paper
- Beat cream cheese and condensed milk together until smooth, add lemon juice and beat well.
- To melt the chocolate, place in a small microwave safe bowl and heat for 20 seconds at a time, pressing gently on the chocolate in between until just melted enough to stir.
- Add to cream cheese mixture and beat well.
- In a separate bowl beat cream until soft peaks form.
- Remove pits from cherries and gently fold cherries and cream through the cheese mixture until combined.
- Pour mixture into prepared tin and refrigerate at least 4 hours to set.
- Carefully cut chocolate mud cake in half.
- Carefully remove the sides of the springform tin
- Place the cut side of the bottom half of the cake on top of the cheesecake and place a serving plate upside down on top of the (bottom of) the cake.
- Maintaining gentle pressure, invert the whole cake.
- Carefully remove the base of the springform tin (which should now be upside down) and remove the baking paper surrounding the cheesecake.
- Place the second layer of chocolate cake, cut side down, on top of the cheesecake.
- Using a spatula or the back of the knife, gently smooth the cheesecake around the sides of the cake.
- Store in the fridge.
- Top with cherries to serve.
- To make the coffee I made a small pot of strong stovetop espresso and topped it up to 250ml (1 cup) with hot water. You can also use 1-2 tsp of instant coffee in a cup of hot water.